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Disability, Race Discrimination Suits Settled for $249K

August 17, 2022

In separate developments, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has recovered $249,000 in lost wages and damages from employers in Pennsylvania and Florida that allegedly discriminated against employees because of their disability or history of disability, and race. The EEOC also filed new lawsuits against employers in New York and South Carolina alleging disability discrimination and sex discrimination.


Laid off during pandemic due to disability history.Gas Field Specialists, Inc. will pay$184,000 and provide other relief to settle allegations that the Potter County, Pennsylvania-based natural gas well service company violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when it laid off and then terminated an employee who had been with the company for 15 years, based on his disability record. The EEOC contends that the company fired the employee because he had a history of cancer. The company purportedly told the employee that it didn’t want him to get sick with COVID-19 and had to lay off anyone with health issues during the COVID pandemic.

White supervisor discriminated against Black employee.Ring Power Corporation, North and Central Florida’s CAT-brand heavy equipment dealer, has agreed to pay$65,000 and provide other relief to settle allegations that it violated Title VII when it permitted a white supervisor to discriminate against a Black former naval technician at its St. Augustine location. The employee was the only Black technician in his department. Throughout his tenure at Ring Power, his supervisor made racist remarks about him, including referring to him using the “N-word” and stating that he was only good for cleaning.

New lawsuits

Fired due to hearing-related impairment.The EEOC filed anew lawsuit against Conduent State and Local Solutions, Inc., a business services provider that operates the New York E-ZPass toll collection system, and Broadleaf Results, an employment agency, alleging that the companies violated the ADA when they both failed to accommodate an employee’s disability and then fired her. The employee was placed by Broadleaf to work as a customer service representative at Conduent’s E-ZPass Customer Service Center in Staten Island, New York. She allegedly notified Broadleaf and Conduent supervisors that she was having difficulties hearing customer calls and requested an accommodation for her hearing-related impairment.

Although she was told that her disability could be accommodated, neither employer initiated the process necessary to identify a suitable accommo­dation for the employee’s disability, the EEOC contends. When she requested a meeting with management to discuss the status of her accommodation request, she was purportedly told by Broadleaf management, “If you cannot hear, then you can’t do the job,” and was terminated, effective immediately. After her termin­ation, Conduent allegedly made no efforts to investigate whether this discharge was appropriate.

Accommodated, then refused to accommodate disability.According to anew lawsuit, Wal-Mart Stores East, LP, violated the ADA when its Aiken, South Carolina retail store failed to provide reasonable accommodation to a part-time sales associate and then placed him on indefinite unpaid leave. The EEOC alleges that shortly after hiring after the employee, Walmart accommodated him by permitting him to use one of the store’s electric carts to perform his job duties, which included stocking shelves. About seven months later, and several months after the employee had completed his probationary period with the use of the store’s electric cart, a new manager purportedly told the employee that he was no longer permitted to use the cart and sent him home without pay.

The EEOC contends that Walmart offered no explanation other than telling the employee that the store’s electric carts are for customer use only, even though other employees were permitted to use the carts to accommodate temporary injuries. Walmart allegedly told the employee that he would have to provide his own electric cart or transfer to a self-checkout host position. Because the employee was unable to purchase and transport an electric cart of his own and is physically not capable of performing the duties of a self-checkout host due to his disability, Walmart placed him on indefinite unpaid leave, according to the EEOC.

Discrimination based on sexual orientation.Aspire Regional Partners, Inc., MSTC Development, Inc., and their nursing homes known as the Northwood Assisted Living and Northwood Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Facilities (collectively, Aspire), violated Title VII by discriminating against a maintenance director because of his sexual orientation, according to a new EEOC lawsuit. Aspire allegedly discriminated against the employee because of his sexual orientation, including falsely accusing him of performance deficiencies and firing him.